Gale Nelson grew up in Toledo, Ohio and graduated from the University of Toledo as a recipient of the coveted Coca Cola "We Mean Business Scholarship" in 1992. Armed with a newly-minted Corporate Finance degree, Nelson had big dreams to cash in on Wall Street.
When a child actress is called a vile name by an long-running satire site, a beautiful young singer is labeled a stoner for wearing dreadlocks and a phenomenal 13-year old-female athlete is called a slut, they deserve more than a canned, robotic mea culpa.
I have benefitted from black gay privilege throughout my career as a senior human resources, financial and diversity officer. I have accessed spaces and opportunities that "stereotypical" black men were not able to access.
Unfortunately, the damage resulting from the nearly decade long apex of black female confinement is substantial.
It feels like Hollywood is finally starting to get what so many of us knew all along; audiences want to see diversity. Yet somehow, at this exciting moment of progress for the industry, Deadline Hollywood found it appropriate to publish what can only be described as a call for regression.
John's life has a lesson for us today. His struggle -- our struggle -- for a just society, for true equality and respect -- is not over. Far from it. All we have to look at is the widespread assault on the Voting Rights Act today. But like him, we cannot walk away; we cannot give up.
Stephen A. Smith is just the latest in a long line to peddle the delusion that the GOP can change its ways and become an open-arms party for blacks.
There's nothing to be happy about -- no feel-good takeaways -- when a middle school girl gets insulted by a man and has to speak up for him so he can continue a baseball career no one gives a fuck about. She is not supposed to be anyone's savior or protector. We need to be saving and protecting her.
Channeling the revolutionary essence of the Harlem Renaisance, Kendrick Lamar's To Pimp a Butterfly is a gripping, soul-driven melodrama that masterfully depicts the story of a courageous young man fighting through the painful process of liberating himself.
In our everyday fights to silence the racist chants of misguided college students and stifle overaggressive police who racially profile black children, we must reach the finish line. The next generation should never have to question whether their lives matter.
Despite past voting obstacles, there are compelling reasons for blacks in Ferguson to rush to barricades this time to vote. One is the prospect of a regime change. Another is they could move to dump the racket that city officials have run for years that criminalizes virtually the city entire black population. Another is there's no excuse.
The n-word has the blood of thousands of lynchings, beatings, and other horrific crimes melded between its letters, meshed in its very fibers. So, why do some white people want the right to use this abhorrent word again?
The tragic discovery of a missing African-American man's body hanging from a tree in rural Claiborne County, Mississippi is now being investigated by both state and federal authorities.
I was running errands with my youngest two children in tow when an acquaintance of ours spotted us and came over to say hello. She looked at my son, marveling over how much he had grown.
"Yes," I smiled, "He's a big boy!" She replied, "Such a cute little thug." My son is 2 years old.
While we applaud Starbucks for their effort to engage a topic that many seek to avoid, and while their efforts seem well-intentioned, we, as a national racial justice organization, with a name similar to the hashtag used in the campaign feel compelled to say: as a nation, we need more.
Funding for school policing programs has expanded and more school-based police are being armed with the same weapons cops carry on the streets. This expansion has not come with significant strings attached or proper guidelines.
With all due respect to Pastors Creflo and Taffi, instead of wasting community funds on frivolous expenses like a Gulfstream G650, maybe you should spend more time reaching out to the community in order to understand what they need, and how you can use your ministry to support them!
Jimmy Dennis' case reveals a great deal about a hopelessly broken system that administers the law, but does not necessarily dispense justice.
Black Voices continues to celebrate Black Music Month by recognizing seven CDs in the gospel genre by African American artists. These spiritual gems are some of the most overlooked works in gospel music, but BV Blogger Jawn Murray chose them as the seven projects every music lover must have!
Kim Burrell's 'Everlasting Life' (Tommy Boy/1998): Like Van Gough and Picasso, Kim Burrell's 'Everlasting Life' is considered by most musicians and singers as a priceless piece of art. Burrell was able to take her jazz-fused, raspy alto -- and all its acrobatics -- and sing an assortment of songs in a genre-blurring style. Cleverly not allowing the intricate vocal arrangements to be overshadowed, Burrell weaves in and out of energetic numbers such as 'I'll Keep Holding On' and mid-tempo grooves like 'Over and Over, Again.' Burrell's jazz appreciation is on display as she sings about God's goodness on 'I Found Him' and 'Lift Jesus.' She also mesmerizes on ballads like 'Prodigal Son,' 'Oh Lord' and 'Holy Ghost,' where her voice and the complex vocal choices she often makes captivates listeners. A classic!
JJ Hairston & Youthful Praise – 'Live: The Praise...The Worship' (Light Records/2005): There has been a separation of the soulful Sunday-morning sounds of the black church and the new-age Praise & Worship movement. On 'Live: The Praise...The Worship,' JJ Hairston & Youthful Praise finally capture the best of both worlds and find a musical balance that is not only affective, but also births songs that will be anthems for years to come. The CD kicks off like a worship service, and the energetic 'You Are So Awesome' sets the tone for what's to come. 'Incredible God,' the CD's breakout hit, is a celebratory ballad that speaks to God's goodness. The Connecticut-based choir gets contemporary, with help from Jonathan Nelson on 'Shift This Place,' while his brother Jason Nelson's matchless tenor shines on 'Oh Holy Lamb.' 'Live: The Praise...The Worship' is a call-and-response CD with material that listeners can sing along to and invoke the spirit of Sunday morning into their personal space. One of the best choir records released in the last five years!
Coko's 'Grateful' (Light Records/2006): As one of the music's most underrated voices, Cheryl Clemons, professionally known as Coko, shines in her solo gospel debut. The SWV front woman, best known for belting R&B hits like 'Weak,' 'Anything' and 'Rain,' sings sacred songs on 'Grateful,' a Grammy-nominated collection of great gospel material. Likely the best gospel recording by an R&B singer since Aretha Franklin's 'Amazing Grace,' Coko delivers better than she ever has on this ambitious studio record. She's impressive on the remake of the Tramaine Hawkins' classic 'Look at Me,' and cleverly tackles The Clark Sisters' 'Endow Me' with the help of fellow R&B stars Faith Evans, Fantasia and Lil' Mo. Coko's soprano soars on the powerful 'Hymn Medley,' while her enchanting tone is showcased on the Donald Lawrence-produced 'Holy.' Whether you're stomping your feet to 'Clap Your Hands' or bobbing your head to the R&B-friendly title track; this CD features a variety of offerings and all of them are good! A must-have.
VaShawn Mitchell's 'Promises' (Tyscot/2007): While many of his peers are recording material with mainstream urban influence, VaShawn Mitchell writes and sings songs that are meant to be sung in church. On 'Promises,' Mitchell captures every aspect of an individual's personal relationship with God, from giving him an energetic 'Crazy Praise' to the declaration ballad 'I'll Just Lift My Hands.' The emotional 'I Worship You' tells a story of God's omnipotence, while on 'Passed Over Me,' Mitchell chants about how God's mercy kept him out of harm's way. Kim Burrell guests on 'Over and Over,' while Angela Spivey takes 'Testimony' to a whole other level. And if the praise party feel of 'For My Good' isn't enough for you, Mitchell gives you a good Holy Ghost experience with his 'Chicago Bump' as well.
Lexi's 'A Praise in the Valley' (Holy Music/2005): After years of recording R&B-friendly contemporary gospel CDs, Lexi found her niche with 'A Praise in the Valley,' a solid live recording of both Praise & Worship and Sunday morning-suited material. On the disc, Lexi brings forth the complete church experience and songs such as 'I've Been Redeemed,' 'He Got Up' and 'Testify, Lexi offers songs that listeners can sing along to. The contemporary Christian ballad – that's what they call White gospel – 'My Heart Belongs to You' featuring Nicole Binion is one of the highlights of the CD. The dynamic Kim Burrell guests on 'Not Until,' and Lexi gets help from William "Praise is What I Do" Murphy on 'Wherever the Lord Is.' Though Lexi is likely best known for being a TV personality and host, just one listen to 'Praise in the Valley' and there will be no doubt that she's a singer first!
Ann Nesby's 'In the Spirit' (Shanachie/2006): Former Sounds of Blackness singer Ann Nesby captures old-school church on 'In the Spirit.' Whether you're young or old, her interpretation of these classic gospel hits will have you clapping your hands and singing along. From Albertina Walker's 'God In Prayer' to the Thompson Community Singers' 'Rise Up and Walk,' Nesby puts her soulful stamp on traditional gospel songs in a way that channels a storefront church revival. Cleverly, Nesby delivers a devotional version of Stevie Wonder's 'Heaven is Ten Zillion Light Years Away' and even offers a funky version of Bill Withers' 'Grandma's Hands.' Whether she is singing Donald Lawrence's 'If I Can't Say a Word' or public domain hymns like 'Oh How I Love Jesus,' one really feels 'In the Spirit' on this musical journey with Nesby.
Deitrick Haddon's 'Crossroads' (Verity/2004): Deitrick Haddon is constantly reinventing himself, and usually his innovative approach to music is a little before its time. On his opus 'Crossroads,' Haddon pairs the musicianship of soul icons like Stevie Wonder and pop idols like Michael Jackson with good ole gospel numbers. The energetic 'God is Good' is a Praise & Worship and Dance Ministry favorite, while the Detroit-bred singer channels the King of Pop on 'U.N.I.T.Y.' Haddon croons like the best R&B balladeers on tracks like 'What Love,' 'Won't Stop Praying' and 'God Didn't Give Up,' while taking a more traditional gospel approach to the churchified 'Prayer Changes Things' and 'Had Not Been,' which features one of his musical mentors, Rance Allen. Overall, 'Crossroads' embodies its album's title, an immaculate blend of both mainstream music and traditional gospel both merged together by Haddon's heavenly tenor.
Check out Jawn Murray's other Black Music Month's picks: